"He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Do you hear the confidence in those words? Paul, it seems believes in the people of Philippi. We have no reason to question his confidence. They were from everything we read a great church. Yet was that the reason for his confidence, his Hope?
I remember as Annette and I prepared to come to Ireland. People expressed confidence in us. This even though we would share we had NO idea what we would do upon our arrival. Not exactly the words you'd expect to engender confidence. So what was the reason for the apparent confidence.
That got me thinking about Jesus. He's on a mountain with his disciples getting ready to ascend into heaven. The disciples are all around him and he speaks words that have come to be known as "the Great Commission." You'd probably expect a missionary to bring them up. Yet think about this.
He was leaving the church and its success to a group that not many days before had deserted him like rats from a sinking ship. And those who didn't desert, immediately... denied even knowing Him.
And yet Jesus calls on them to carry forward HIS mission, and he didn't say try! Talk about confidence.
I think if you glance back at the words that Paul penned at the beginning of Philippians you'll discover the reason for the hope. The reason for this HOPE is Christ. Or to put it the way Paul did in Colossians... the reason for his confidence is simply "Christ in you, the HOPE of glory."
As you look at the church of today. As you think about God's call to reach OUR world. As you think about your missionaries here in Ireland and around the world. As you think about the lack of resources, the overwhelming challenges of today, perhaps you do have hope, or maybe you just want to throw up your hands in surrender. Let's face it the task is incredible, much like it was for those early disciples. Yet as Paul suggests... Remember... HE is our HOPE.
Perhaps you saw the picture on this post and wondered... You may love Obama, you may loath him. Yet the truth is the HOPE of our world is NOT in the next president of ANY nation, but in Christ, the Hope of Glory!
The future is BRIGHT! After all.... "I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." TNIV(Php 1:3–6)